PHILADELPHIA — Former Illinois midfielder Jackie Santacaterina, a Geneva native, was drafted by the Chicago Red Stars on Friday in the Women’s Professional Soccer draft.
Santacaterina was selected in the seventh round, 60th overall. She will join former Illini teammate Ella Masar, an Urbana product, on the Red Stars’ roster when preseason camp opens March 1. The WPS will begin its second season in April.
“This is the most unbelievable opportunity I’ve ever had, and I’m so excited for it,” Santacaterina said. “I’m still in total shock. It is great to have the opportunity to continue my playing career, especially in my home state.”
Santacaterina, a four-year starter, was selected to the All-Big Ten second team in 2007 and ’08.
Besides Santacaterina and Masar, former Illini Mary Therese McDonnell (Red Stars) and Christen Karniski (Washington Freedom) have played for WPS teams.
In women's gymnastics:
Buckley shines. Junior Allison Buckley won titles in the all-around and on
the balance beam to lead No. 23 Illinois to second place in a triangular meet Friday at Nebraska.
“Allison did well tonight and is really starting to gain confidence,” coach Bob
Starkell said. “She has begun to lead by example with her work ethic in the gym.”
In women’s track and field:
Bizzarri up for award. Illini distance-running standout Angela Bizzarri was selected to the preseason watch list for The Bowerman award, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association announced Thursday.
The list consists of 10 female collegiate track and field athletes selected by The Bowerman Women’s Watch Committee. In addition, five others who received mention will be considered for future 2010 watch lists. The Bowerman is awarded each year to the top female collegiate athlete in NCAA track and field.
Bizzarri is the NCAA defending champion in the outdoor 5,000 meters. The Illini senior also placed third in the event at the 2009 U.S. Outdoor Championships.
An eight-time All-American in track and cross-country, Bizzarri is a two-time NCAA champion. She won the NCAA cross-country title in November in a school record-breaking 6-kilometer time of 19 minutes, 46.8 seconds. She later was named USTFCCCA National Cross-Country Athlete of the Year.
Bizzarri is the only Big Ten athlete and only distance runner to make the initial Bowerman watch list. The committee will release its next list Feb. 9. Three finalists will be named June 15.
ESPN cites UI recruit. Illini signee Jennifer Bonilla was named to the ESPN RISE All-America First Team. The Los Angeles Marymount High School senior was one of two liberos selected to the 12-player first team.
Bonilla also was chosen to Prepvolleyball.com’s “Team of the Decade” second team as the second-best high school libero of the 2000s.
Bonilla has played for the USA Volleyball’s Girls Youth National Team for the past two seasons. She helped the American squad win the 2008 NORCECA Girls Youth Continental Championship Under-18 tournament, earning the “best libero” award. Last summer, Bonilla and her
U.S. teammates placed 12th at the FIVB Girls’ Youth World Championship in Thailand.